Part time consultancy commencing in April/May 2023

The UK-based NGO members of the Stop Killer Robots campaign, and allied organisations and individuals concerned with the ethical, moral and technical challenges posed by increasing autonomy in weapons systems, are looking for a part-time consultant to coordinate us in our work to make the case for UK support for an international treaty for the prohibition and regulation of autonomous weapons systems.

As the Consultant Coordinator, you will be building on the strong institutional and strategic groundwork laid by our current and previous coordinators and coalition members over the past three years to drive forward our planned universities campaign, UK political advocacy work, and tech-sector focused work as well as other developing workstreams.

Interviews will be held over Zoom during the week commencing Monday 24 April 2023 (please state your availability on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 April, in your cover letter). The interview team will comprise a representative each from three UK members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots steering committee: Article 36, United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom UK.

The maximum fee available is £18,000. From this, we expect at least 2 full days a week of consultancy work on average from the consultant across a 28 week period. This will include required coordination and attendance of monthly (currently virtual) meetings of the UK coalition and its working groups – otherwise the post will be results-based and hours flexible.  There is a limited budget available for expenses. The contract will be extendable, subject to performance and funding availability.

The consultant will be hired by UNA-UK, a UK-registered charity based in central London. We would prefer a consultant based in or able to travel to London for in-person meetings. Otherwise, the role is fairly flexible and would involve a mixture of homeworking, external meetings and the option of desk-based work at UNA-UK’s offices.

Please email Ben Donaldson at [email protected], attaching a CV and short cover letter by 11.59 pm on 16 April 2023 if you would like to be considered for the consultancy.

Background

Rapid advances in technology are raising concerns about the emergence of new weapons systems with ever-increasing autonomy, giving rise to the imminent prospect of the development and deployment of weapons systems which can identify targets and apply force to kill without meaningful human oversight.

As a country with advanced military capabilities and one of the first to develop and deploy armed drones, the UK is at the forefront of the drive towards increasing autonomy in military systems. There is growing concern among NGOs, students, academics, international lawyers, roboticists, tech workers and parliamentarians that the UK is not supporting the negotiation of an international legal treaty on autonomous weapons systems (also known as “killer robots”) at the United Nations, leaving the door open to the development of unaccountable and inhumane weapons systems.

The UK campaign is at an exciting – and critical – point. International momentum is developing towards the negotiation of a treaty to stop killer robots: more than 80 states now support this, with Latin America and the Caribbean recently declaring a regional position. There is growing agreement of what this treaty should look like when it is negotiated. This year the House of Lords is conducting the first select committee inquiry looking specifically at autonomous weapons systems and the UK government’s position on regulation. All this makes it a key year for the UK coalition to campaign for change in the UK government’s position, through our parliamentary, public awareness and university activities among others. The coalition coordinator will play a key role in this.

 Responsibilities

Coordination: Oversee, keep track of and push forward work on the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ main current workstreams (universities, political, tech) and other priorities for work as identified with the coalition, working with and to support coalition members and liaising closely with those leading different workstreams. Convene and keep records of the UK coalition’s regular meetings.

Coalition building: Strengthen a wider UK coalition advocating meaningful human control in weapons systems with a focus on coalition building among the tech, NGO, academic, parliamentary, finance/investment, and military sectors as well as building consensus on policy positions within and between these groups.

Advocacy: As part of the political workstream, develop relationships with major UK political parties, build a network of engaged parliamentary champions and coordinate lobbying actions within different sectors to increase pressure on the UK Government to act.

Education and communication: Act as a knowledge hub for coalition members, sharing updates on relevant international developments at the UN and elsewhere as well as proactive work at key campaign moments to raise awareness of this issue in the press and via public events. Coordinate and develop the UK campaign’s social media presence at moments of focus for public communication.

Grant reporting/fundraising: Regular reporting on activities and impact and feeding into funding applications where appropriate.

The consultant

We are looking for an individual with some or all of the following qualities:

About UNA-UK
Founded in 1945, the United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) is the country’s foremost advocate forprincipled UK action at the UN. We are the only charity in the UK devoted to building support for the UN amongst policymakers and have a long legacy advocating UK support for disarmament over many decades. UNA-UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee (no.1146016). We are completely independent of the UN and receive no funding from it.

UNA-UK welcomes applications from underrepresented and marginalised constituencies. Due to the high volume of applications we are only able to respond to shortlisted applicants. For questions about this opportunity please email Ben Donaldson ([email protected]). While we will attempt to respond promptly to all enquiries, capacity is limited at present, and so please bear with us.

We are very grateful to the global Stop Killer Robots campaign and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for making this opportunity possible.